Detroit (1-4) at Green Bay (2-2)

Fair Currently: Green Bay, WI
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 1:00 pm EDT Sun Oct 18, 2009
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Although the Green Bay Packers still have plenty of concerns about their offensive line, a visit from the Detroit Lions gives them good reason to be optimistic coming off a bye.

The Packers look to win their 18th straight at home over the Lions, who will be without quarterback Matthew Stafford(notes) and wide receiver Calvin Johnson(notes).

Green Bay (2-2) had high hopes for Aaron Rodgers(notes) in his second season as a starter and he’s performed well despite issues with his offensive line and receivers.

The Packers return to the field following a 30-23 loss to Brett Favre(notes) and the Vikings on Oct. 5. Rodgers was 26 of 37 for 384 yards and two touchdowns, but was sacked a season-high eight times, including one that led to a safety.

Green Bay has given up a league-high 20 sacks this season.

“I think we’re very disappointed,” starting guard Allen Barbre(notes) said. “We know we can play better than that.”

During their week off, the Packers did get some good news with the expected return of veteran tackle Chad Clifton(notes), who missed the previous two games with a sprained right ankle. They also re-signed veteran Mark Tauscher(notes), although he is unlikely to be ready by Sunday as he’s coming off a serious knee injury and a 10-month layoff from football.

McCarthy said that the offensive line isn’t solely to blame for the Packers’ disappointing start, adding there were other places to put the blame for Rodgers’ problems, including the quarterback himself. The coach wants to see Rodgers work on getting rid of the ball faster and for his receivers do to a better job at holding onto the ball.

“It’s just not one guy,” McCarthy said. “It’s really the combination of some of the things in the protection unit that we need to do a better job of. And frankly, some of it falls on the quarterback decision and his time clock. He’s making a lot of good plays with his feet, but it also has caught us sometimes.”

Rodgers’ numbers are almost identical to last season when the Packers also started 2-2. He had thrown for 961 yards and six touchdowns in the first four games of 2008 while he’s passed for 1,098 yards and six touchdowns this season.

Donald Driver(notes) has been Rodgers’ favorite target this year, with 18 catches for 288 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll become the Packers’ all-time leader in receptions with his next catch after tying Sterling Sharpe’s mark of 595 against the Vikings.

“Last week I got a call from Sterling just saying, ‘You deserve it,’” Driver told the Packers’ official Web site. “I told him that to be mentioned in the same breath as him and James Lofton and all of the great guys that played before me, it’s an honor.”

Driver and the Packers are looking to continue their recent domination over the Lions, especially in Green Bay. They’ve won seven straight overall against Detroit and 17 in a row at home in the series since a 21-17 loss in 1991. Rodgers passed for 636 yards and six touchdowns in two victories against them last year.

The Lions (1-4) listed Stafford as their emergency third quarterback, and the rookie will miss his second straight game due to a twisted right knee provided Daunte Culpepper(notes) and Drew Stanton(notes) both don’t get hurt. The No. 1 overall draft pick returned to practice Wednesday and said he isn’t 100 percent.

“It is on its way, but I can still feel it a little bit,” he said. “It’s not a lot of fun watching from the sidelines, but we’ll have to see how this goes.”

Culpepper started in last Sunday’s 28-20 loss to the Steelers and was 23 of 37 for 282 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He drove the Lions to Pittsburgh’s 21 late in the fourth quarter, but was sacked three consecutive times to be pushed back to midfield.

Culpepper was sacked a total of seven times and fumbled three times.

Johnson, who has team highs of 22 receptions and 325 yards, will miss this game due to a knee injury, which has forced him to miss parts of the previous two games.

“He’s also improving, but you saw that he wasn’t able to do things today,” coach Jim Schwartz said Wednesday. “If he can’t go, we have other guys who will have to step up, but it definitely changes the way a defense will play us.”

Johnson and Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald(notes) tied with a league-high 12 touchdowns last season.

Looking for help at receiver, the Lions signed John Standeford(notes), who played nine games with Detroit in 2008, starting four. He had 15 receptions for 244 yards.

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